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A couple of weeks ago I spent the better part of a day making mixes.  One of them was pretty delicious all by itself as well as quite versatile.  So, as I enjoyed making and freezing it, I figured I would include the recipe before telling you what I made with it.

All-Purpose Ground-Meat Mix (from the Make-a-Mix Cook Book, page 38)All-Purpose Ground-Meat Mix

Use this mix in most casseroles that call for meat or a meat mixture.

  • 5 lb. lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced green pepper

In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown ground meat, stirring to break up meat.  Drain excess grease.  Stir in salt, celery, onion, and green pepper. Cover; simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, about ten minutes.  Remove from heat; set aside.

Ladle into six 2-cup freezer containers with tight fitting lids, leaving 1/2-inch space at top of each.  With a knife, cut through mixture in each container several times to remove air pockets.  Attach lids.  Label with contents and use by date (use within three months of freezing).  Refrigerate until cold, then store in freezer.  Makes about 12 cups ALL-PURPOSE GROUND-MEAT MIX.

When I made this initially, jak had me using ground pork in my recipes instead of ground beef.   I decided to try that with this recipe and it came out very delicious.  So, you should be able to make this with just about any ground meat that you prefer.  If there’s any left, you can eat it on toast or just by itself, since it tastes pretty good all alone.

I’ve made a number of dishes with it, but today I made my first ever soup with it.  If you’ll pardon a tiny brag, this soup tastes so good it could have been made in a restaurant.

Best-Ever Minestrone Soup (from the Make-a-Mix Cook Book, page 103)Best-Ever Minestrone Soup

  • 1 (28-oz.) can tomatoes
  • 2 cups ALL-PURPOSE GROUND-MEAT MIX, thawed
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, sliced
  • 2 (8-oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 (15-oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 (16-oz.) can green beans, drained
  • 1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1-1/4 cups mostaccioli or other macaroni
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Puree tomatoes in blender.  In a large pot or Dutch oven, ALL-PURPOSE GROUND-MEAT MIX, pureed  tomatoes, water, carrots, tomato sauce, broth parsley, basil, oregano, pepper and garlic salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, simmer over low heat about 20 minutes.

Add garbanzo beans, green beans, and kidney beans.  Return to a boil; add macaroni.  Cook 10 minutes or until macaroni is tender.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese.  Makes 8 to 10 servings.

I included a loaf of store-bought garlic bread with this dish so people would have some bread to use as a sop.  If you decide to do this, pop it into the oven right after you bring the heat back up to high for the second time, then slit it open and lay the bread halves open for a few minutes, so the garlic butter will melt somewhat while you’re giving the soup a final stir and pulling it off the stove.  I highly recommend stirring this soup occasionally, since there’s so much stuff in here that just letting it simmer is likely to leave burnt bits on the bottom of your large pot or Dutch oven.  Finally, I suggest you use a Dutch oven, since this soup is well over a gallon.  I fixed it in one of our stock pots and then poured it into the Dutch oven to make serving easier, but it’s up to you.

Boy likes the soupAs for the reception, well, Boy just generally tends to be shy about eating new dishes, but, once he had a taste of this, he really enjoyed it.  As for the rest of the family, I’ve never seen bowls get cleaned out so fast.